Grab A Hammer

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

A Jew turned Christian turned Evangelical says Christians “sold” their principles in supporting Trump.  Time to move beyond social battles and forsake the politics of hate, fear and violence.  Time to embrace gun control.  Time to be like Episcopalians.

In other words, Never Trump.

He’s not alone.  Catholic bishops in the United States have embraced Open Borders, climate change, gun control . . .

In other words, Never Trump.

I don’t understand the New World Order.  I’m stuck in the Old World, the world in which the purpose of religion was to save my immortal soul from eternal damnation, a risk posed by my personal moral failings.  Hellfire and damnation were the punishment for sin, not the result of global warming caused by greenhouse gasses emitted by the engine in my car. I was admonished to live in the world, but not be of it, that I might someday be worthy of salvation and heaven.

Either everybody has been doing it wrong for the last 2,000 years or modern religion has completely lost its way.  I’m beginning to think it’s time to write out a few theses and find myself a hammer.

Joe Doakes

When progs finally get around to rewriting the Bible, Christ will work for a non-profit that sought justice for carpenters.

Oh Grouse All Ye Faithful

I left the Presbyterian Church USA (PCUSA) a few years ago because of the relentless politicization of their services,

But on Christmas even, I went back to a local PCUSA congregation for their Christmas Eve concert service; the church has a choir and chamber orchestra and they do a really really excellent musical service. Given how awful Presbyterian choirs usually are, it’s doubly surprising; it’s one of my favorite ways to spend Christmas Eve.

Musically, anyway. Which is a wonderful thing.

But the pastor’s homily was kind of jarring. He asked why we were there – which is far from an unusual Christmas sermon theme, and the pastor asked it far from unusual; we might be there, he speculated, because we were seeking the familiar, or because it was something our loved ones who were no longer with us might have loved, or even because it was our home congregation.

Or maybe, he said, it was out of fear. Fear of the craziness of today’s politics. Fear for some amorphous group he called “the dispossesed”. Fear of the “very real threat” of nuclear war breaking out.

And after almost asking out loud “where WERE you during the Cold War?”, I thought to myself; here’s a minister of a *very* well-off congregation, full of people who gave off visible signs of not just “privilege”, but that self-assured sense people have when they have several generations of assurance that Their Opinions Matter in this world; legislators and city councilpeople return their calls, their agendas find their way into the halls of power, and they were very, very well-represented in Saint Paul’s and Minnesota’s political class.

And this on top of the fact that, for the vast majority of this world – especially in its less tony quarters, far removed from green leafy Crocus Hill – *things have never been better*. For the first time in the history of the world, obesity is a bigger problem to the people of this world than malnutrition. While there are some ugly situations around the world, more of the world has been at peace longer than at virtually any time in history. Outside of a few flashpoints, fewer people per capita are dying violently in this world than at any time in history I can think of.

The minister was talking less about “fear” than about “lingering anger about the wrong person winning the last election”. Which is indistinguishable from fear in some people.

If I were inclined to be bothered by, well, anything on Christmas (and I am not), it would have put an ugly blot on an otherwise beautiful service.

(Which makes it an ugly blot that doesn’t bother me, I guess)

Virtue Preaching

The Methodists, like the Presbyterian Church in the USA that I grew up in (and, it’d seem much of American Catholicism to boot) is slowly spinning itself into an institution that observes a holy trinity; social justice the mother, political correctness the other mother, and virtue-signaling the spirit.

Witness the United Methodists’ bishop, Dr, Karen Oliveto – herself a virtue signal, as the UMC’s first Lesbian Bishop.

Oliveto was elected with a flurry of virtue-signalling glee a few years ago – and has spent her term basically turning the United Methodists into even more of a pseudo-Unitarian cult than it was before:

“Too many folks want to box Jesus in, carve him in stone, create an idol out of him. But this story cracks the pedestal we’ve put him on. The wonderful counselor, mighty God, everlasting one, prince of peace, was as human as you and me. Like you and me, he didn’t have his life figured out. He was still growing, maturing, putting the pieces together about who he was and what he was supposed to do. We might think of him as the Rock of Ages, but he was more like a hunk of clay, forming and reforming himself in relation to God.

As one person put it: ‘Jesus wasn’t a know-it-all, he was also learning God’s will like any human being and finally he changed his mind…if Jesus didn’t have to know it all innately, but rather could grow into new and deeper understanding through an openness to God’s people [even those he formerly discounted], maybe if Jesus could change his mind then maybe so can we!”

When it comes to the Christian Trinity, it’s said that Catholics obsess over God the Father, the dealer of punishment and guilt, shorting the whole “Salvation” via the Son and Spirit bit.  Evangelicals, on the other hand, focus on the spirit, sometimes to the detriment of the authority, and often to the shorting of the humanity, of Christ.  And mainline American protestants?  They focus on the Son – the redemption, the forgiveness – sometimes shorting the authority and the spirit.

But other than gutting the traditional understanding of who and what Christ was…

…well, she’s LGBTQ…